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Good Societies, Financial Inequality and Secrecy, and a Good Life: from Aristotle to Piketty

  • Alex C. MichalosEmail author
  • P. Maurine Hatch
Article

Abstract

In this paper we show that for a dataset of 105 countries, four candidate objective indexes (Human Development Index (HDI), Weighted Index of Social Progress (WISP), Social Progress Index (SPI) and Sustainable Society Index (SSI)) and one subjective index (World Happiness Survey (WHS)) of at least aspects of the quality of life or human well-being have good convergent validity among themselves and expected statistically significant negative correlations with Gini measures of wealth and income, and a measure of political jurisdictions’ institutionalized financial secrecy (Financial Secrecy Scores (FSS)). A measure of offshore wealth as a fraction of GDP (FOW) showed only a couple significant correlations with one overall quality of life index (SSI). When we combined the four objective indexes to the subjective index to create overall measures of the quality of life (including Happy Life Years (HLY)), the correlations among the indexes increased. Most of the correlations increased again when we used Gini indexes to create wealth-equality overall quality of life indexes and these correlations were higher on average than those among income-equality overall quality of life indexes. Combining results using 21 quality of life/well-being indexes, we rank ordered 105 countries from best to worst. The top 10 in order were Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Australia, Finland, Netherlands, Slovakia, Belgium, Sweden and Denmark. This is the first time anyone has built the array of index options presented here based on a handful of originals. We offer them as another potential starting point for the next generation of researchers.

Keywords

Human Development Index (HDI) Weighted Index of Social Progress (WISP) Social Progress Index (SPI) Sustainable Society Index (SSI) Happy Life Years (HLY) Life Satisfaction Happiness Quality of Life 

Notes

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Copyright information

© The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS) and Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Northern British ColumbiaOntarioCanada
  2. 2.VernonCanada

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